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Numbers 18:1-20:29 | Let God be God
Numbers 18:1-20:29 | Let God be God

Christopher Campbell • February 20, 2021

Today, I read Numbers 18:1-20:29 in the NET Bible [Historical Plan]. 

I have been meditating on 20:6-13. When the people of Israel gathered together against Moses and Aaron and directly contended with Moses because they did not have water, Moses and Aaron threw themselves down with their faces to the ground and the LORD appeared to them. 

The LORD instructed Moses to do something visible for the assembled community. “...speak to the rock before their eyes.” The rock would then pour forth its water, and the people would know that the LORD provided for them because water came from a rock when it was but spoken to. This would have to be the work of God! 

But Moses did not speak to the rock. He “struck the rock twice.” 

The Scriptures interpret what happened. Moses did not trust the LORD enough to show Him as holy before the Israelites (20:12). What Moses did showed more of himself than God (NET Note). Moses and Aaron rebelled against the LORD’s instruction (20:24). 

Perhaps speaking to the rock wasn’t a show of force enough for Moses, so he struck it? But the LORD wasn’t after a show of force. The LORD was after a show of FAITH, and Moses failed. 

As a prophet of God (Moses) and as a priest of God (Aaron), these men had a common function in both of their offices. They were to show God as holy before the people. 

I think about what that means for a pastor, a deacon, and yes - every believer. What we do must be less about what WE do, and more about showing God as holy. If we want God to strike when God says “speak,” then we speak, and let God be God. 

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1/20 | Highlights & Insights from the Word
1/20 | Highlights & Insights from the Word

Christopher Campbell • January 20, 2021

January 20, 2021

Cheated and Crossed: The Blessings of Esau and Ephraim

For the last twenty days, I have followed the course set forth by a Bible reading plan

This plan is not a prosecutor, determined to indict me when I miss a reading. It is a friend, resting in a digital file, eager to be retrieved and consulted daily. 

Do you have such a plan? 

My plan is like a broken record. It whispers an identical message repeatedly. Every bullet point, check box, and assignment gently nudges me to keep reading!  

My “keep reading plan” rebukes the occasional temptation to read too quickly, skip over parts, or to quit altogether. It assures me that each verse and chapter belongs to a larger context.

God is that context. 

Cheated: The Blessing of Esau (Genesis 27)

Isaac had twin sons: Esau (the firstborn) and Jacob. When Isaac became old and his eyes were dim so that he could not see, he called for his older son. Not knowing the day of his death, Isaac set in motion a process for blessing Esau with an inheritance that belongs to the first son by birth. 

A short time later in the story, I found myself grasping for a “mute” button and hoping my sleeping children wouldn’t wake up! 

An exceedingly great and bitter cry” pierced the air as Esau screeched in terror: “Bless me, even me also, O my father!” (Genesis 27:34, ESV). 

I wondered if shutting off my reading device would silence the cry and mitigate the onset of any sympathy pains? 

“Keep reading,” my plan whispered. 

What happened? 

In Esau’s words, he was “cheated” out of both his birthright and blessing by his younger brother, Jacob (Genesis 27:36, ESV). Blinded to his own sin, Esau was unable to see his own contributions to this predicament along the way.

His pain is tangible. The text says: “he lifted up his voice and wept” (Genesis 27:38, ESV). 

Esau’s ensuing anger and hatred for his brother were intense (Genesis 27:41, ESV). If he will not inherit the blessing one way, perhaps he thought he might procure it another way?

Crossed: The Blessing of Ephraim (Genesis 48)

Twenty-one chapters later, Jacob, now named Israel, is old and ill. His grandsons are brought before him. He will bless them before he dies as two of his own sons: Manasseh (the firstborn) and Ephraim.

Israel stretches out his right hand (for the older) and lays it upon Ephraim (the younger). He stretches out his left hand (for the younger) and lays it upon Manasseh (the older), crossing his hands (Genesis 48:14, ESV). 

Bracing for impact, I was relieved to discover Joseph’s reaction to this crossing is less forceful than that of Esau’s. The ringing in my ears from the previous episode continues to subside without further trauma…

Nevertheless, Joseph (the father of the two) is displeased with what he sees (Genesis 48:17, ESV). He says to his father, Jacob: “Not this way, my father; since this one [Manasseh] is the firstborn, put your right hand on his head.” (Genesis 48:18, ESV). Jacob refused and said, “I know, my son, I know." (Genesis 48:19a, ESV). 


Jacob was not making a mistake. He was acting with what can only be understood as knowledge from God. This crossing was an obvious part of a larger context, which means the cheating of Esau’s blessing that preceded it was too. 

God knows what He will do. God does what He wills.

If we entertain the notion that God gives up, retreats or yields even one small detail of His plan in exchange for our own — with an attitude of come what may! — then the world would literally fall apart. God's plan is not altered by us.

The clamor of happenings around us confuse us. We respond with various degrees of emotion, depending on how we interpret events, as either a blessing or curse.

But if we keep reading, we will remember that the events of the world fit into a larger context — God’s revealed, bigger picture.

Esau was cheated out of his blessing, without the bestower’s knowledge. Ephraim was crossed into his blessing, with the bestower’s knowledge. Neither event was an accident. Both were purposeful events in God’s plan.  

As we keep reading, we are introduced to a descendant of Jacob (not Esau) who is God’s Son. He too would receive an inheritance, but was cheated out of it and nailed to a cross. God’s Son knew no sin, but was crucified by people who did. God’s Son had the right to live, but instead died. He was buried in a tomb — cheated and crossed

But if we keep reading, we will see God’s Son was raised! In a turn of events, death is cheated and crossed! For those rightly deserving death are granted eternal life by faith. Being raised, God’s Son receives the inheritance, and through Him we receive — God's blessing! 

This was all part of God's plan accomplished through His Son, Jesus. And Jesus is coming again soon. Keep reading.

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1/15 | Highlights & Insights from the Word
1/15 | Highlights & Insights from the Word

Christopher Campbell • January 15, 2021

January 15, 2021

Dear Church, 

Yesterday, I read Genesis 42 in my Historical Bible Reading Plan. (I'm using the NET Bible translation for personal reading this year).

This reading told about Joseph in Egypt, Pharaoh's dreams, and the severe famine. As I read verse 36, Jacob is responding to more bad news. The last phrase jumped out at me. Read Jacob's words for yourself:

42:36 Their father Jacob said to them, “You are making me childless! Joseph is gone. Simeon is gone. And now you want to take Benjamin! Everything is against me.” 

Can you identify with that last statement? Jacob's weariness and sorrow are palpable as they leap off the page in his cry: "Everything is against me." 

We've all thrown up our hands and said that at times, haven't we? There is little that can be said or done to cheer a person up who has reached that conclusion. It is truly depressing. And we've all been there. 

As I shared this highlight on social media last night, I began to receive responses. (While many people are leaving social media, I believe we should stay and proclaim God's Word as long as we can).

I found that phrase struck a nerve. Friends and family members living across several cities, with different jobs and life circumstances all found common ground with that same sentiment: "Everything is against me." 

But here is an insight worth considering:

I kept reading. And as I kept reading, I read God's story that told how Jacob saying, "everything is against him" was actually God working to preserve him. He just didn't know it at the time. 

Give some serious attention to this insight, and let the Spirit apply it as He will. Perhaps the Lord will lead you or someone else to be encouraged with greater faith in God today? 

If the Lord speaks to you through this highlight & insight, and gives you an application or testimony, share it in the comments below so that we all will be benefited together. 

Keep reading!

With love in Jesus, 

Pastor Christopher

P.S. - "If God is for us, who can be ________?" (fill in the blank from Romans 8:31!) 

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Reflecting on My First Year as Pastor
Reflecting on My First Year as Pastor

Southside Baptist Church • September 03, 2020

Matthew 7:24–27 (ESV)

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.”

September 1, 2019 was my official "start date" as Pastor at Southside Baptist Church. On this one year anniversary, I've taken a moment to pause and think about the gift of this past year.

My First Step Forward: Preaching

My first step forward was Preaching. It still is!

Most church websites don't use that word. I use it intentionally. You'll find it positioned near the top of the list at !

I want Southside to be identified as a place of quality preaching.

If you want to hear God's Word, rightly divided - you will hear it at Southside. If you want to hear the Gospel for the first time - you will hear it at Southside! If you want to be reminded of the Gospel every week - you will hear it at Southside!

I am convinced people want to hear from God. My commitment, my gifting, my calling is to proclaim God's Word and Work in Christ every week! As Southside presses on into the future, I am investing now in a legacy that I pray points people to the living God through a ministry of the living Word!

24 “Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock.

The Church is not a people who "do first, then hear." We are a people who "hear first, then do." That is wisdom.

How will they hear without preaching?

My Second Step Forward: Pastoring

Beeson Divinity School shaped me to be "a pastor who can preach." While I want Southside to know the benefits of good Bible preaching, I want Southside to also know that they have a Pastor!

Growing up, my pastors were all called "Brother _____." While that has a place and means something, I felt like an understanding of who a pastor is and what a pastor does was lost on me. I wanted to try something different with the congregation God had given to me.

When I began work at Southside, I was asked: "What do you want to be called?" My answer: "Pastor Christopher."

Why? I want Southside to know that they have a Pastor, accountable to God to care for their souls! To teach them God's Word and shepherd them into God's ways! To lead them into the worship of God in spirit and in truth that carries them through their week. To lead them to one day finish the race well and to pass on the faith of old to future generations!

Being called "Pastor Christopher" serves as a reminder to me as much as it does to Southside of the weight, calling, accountability and responsibility of pastoral work. I'm learning that takes time to teach because it has not been taught.

My Next Steps

25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock.

The foundation doesn't matter if there are never any storms.

There will always be storms! Storms from without and storms from within. This is the nature living as a redeemed people who are not of this world but yet are in the world! The question is, will the house stand or fall?

That is determined by the foundation upon which it was built!

The Lord has led Southside into multiple preaching series through Acts, Hebrews and now Joshua. In each series we have heard from God just what we needed during that season! In each series, we encountered God's people facing challenges and obstacles and "storms." In each series, we saw the rock that is Jesus! And God did more with those who were faithful than ever was thought possible!

Southside is faithful. Southside is enduring! God is adding to our number -- even during the challenges of a pandemic! Above all, God is faithful in sustaining us in these days.

I am as energized now and excited to be pastoring as I was this day one year ago! That doesn't mean it has been an easy year - far from it! But I have peace because we are being built for this decade upon the right foundation that is Jesus Christ, the Living Word!

I have witnessed God moving this past year, doing things that only He could do - even in this pandemic! I have an assurance that He is working on building a house that will weather the storms for decades ahead to bring Him glory! I am humbled every day at the thought of stewarding what the Living God has entrusted to me. I want to encourage you with these words!

To God be the glory! With love in Jesus,

-- Pastor Christopher

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The Sermon Continues: An Exhortation to Benefit from God's Word
The Sermon Continues: An Exhortation to Benefit from God's Word

Christopher Campbell • May 21, 2020

The Sermon Continues: An Exhortation to Benefit from God's Word

Reading of Scripture

Hebrews 4:2 ESV

2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened.

Good news is not exclusive to the Church age. The good news was proclaimed to the people of God then just as good news is proclaimed to us now!

They heard…but did not benefit.

Benefiting from (being helped by) the word of God always results from the same grace of God — receiving in faith what is heard.

Put another way, God’s word will not benefit us if we do not receive it with a genuine, living faith that in turn, not only commits to act, but DOES act on what is heard!

So it is, that faith shows that it is effective when we obey God.

This is why we say “Amen” when we hear God’s word read and proclaimed. Our faith is saying: “Yes, that is true. Yes, I will obey.”

In God’s economy, the benefit is in the believing and is demonstrated in obeying.

Yet, not all are obeying.

Let me urge you NOW! Believe God and obey Him! In EVERY area of the life that He gives and sustains for you! Even in the ways that require you to sacrifice.

God IS trustworthy and faithful! His ways are higher than our ways (Is 55:8-9). His word will be accomplished (Is 55:11).

“Without faith it is impossible to please him.” (Heb 11:6).

Faith benefits because faith unites.

All who receive the word of God with faith trust the God of the word and are united in Him.

Unity requires faith from all. Let there not be even one who is faithless among us! Let there not be even one who is disobedient among us!

As we are united in faith on the basis of God’s word, we are united in the receiving of God’s promise (Heb 4:13).

Hebrews 4:1 ESV

1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it.

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The Sermon Continues: A Meditation on Testing
The Sermon Continues: A Meditation on Testing

Christopher Campbell • May 20, 2020

The Sermon Continues: A Meditation on Testing

Reading of Scripture

Numbers 14:4 ESV

4 And they said to one another, “Let us choose a leader and go back to Egypt.”

Choose a leader...Go back…to Egypt?

Why did God’s people make such a rebellious statement?

Because of what they saw.

After forty days of spying out the land of Canaan, ten spies returned with this report:

“the people who dwell in the land are strong” (Num 13:28)

“the cities are fortified and very large” (Num 13:28)

“we saw the descendants of Anak there” (Num 13:28)

“they are stronger than we are” (Num 13:31)

“the land…is a land that devours its inhabitants” (Num 13:32)

“all the people that we saw in it are of great height” (Num 13:32)

“we saw the Nephilim ...and we seemed to ourselves like grasshoppers...” (Num 13:33)

Two spies returned with a different report.

Because of what God said.

The LORD spoke to Moses, saying, “Send men to spy out the land of Canaan, which I am giving to the people of Israel.” (Num 13:1-2)

Notice that Joshua and Caleb saw the same land as the other two spies. But their report was this:

Numbers 14:8 ESV

8 If the Lord delights in us, he will bring us into this land and give it to us, a land that flows with milk and honey.

Said another way:

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Rom 8:31)

What did the people do?

“Then all the congregation said to stone them with stones” (Num 14:10)

Hebrews 3:16–19 ESV

16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.


Testing will come. May we trust what God has said over what we see!

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The Sermon Continues: A Meditation on Faith from Hebrews 3:12-14
The Sermon Continues: A Meditation on Faith from Hebrews 3:12-14

Christopher Campbell • May 19, 2020

The Sermon Continues: A Meditation on Faith from Hebrews 3:12-14

Reading of Scripture

Hebrews 3:12–14 ESV

12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.

An unbelieving heart refuses to trust God. An unbelieving heart has not faith.


“leading you to fall away from the living God”

It is fear that paralyzes and turns the heart into a stagnant pond. When fear is left to fester, it breeds unbelief and falling away.

Genuine faith overcomes fear by standing firm in the present nearness of the living God, even in a desert!

A faith that stands may be costly, especially as a leader who follows God. Moses thought the people would stone him when they grumbled and quarreled because of thirst! (Ex 17).

Yet, a faith that stands is required by leaders of God’s people for the people of God to imitate (Heb 13:7). Leaders of God’s people keep watch over souls as those who will have to give an account (Heb 13:17).

Therefore, people of God — stand firm in faith in the living God! Imitate the faith of those who speak God’s word to you!


“exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today”

God desires that we move with faith from one day to the next. Yesterday’s faith does not stay there. It builds and supports the faith needed for today.

Faith is not concerned with answers to questions like “How?” “When?” “Where?” (or the most common) “With What !?!”

Faith inherently contains doubts. We ask: “Is this really “faith” or is this “foolishness?” Is this “of God” or is this “of me”? If the process is so easily seen, it is certainly not faith.

Yet, when facing the impossibilities of the present and future, we face them all with an invitation for faith, believing that nothing will be impossible with God (Lk 1:37).

Therefore, people of God — exhort one another to faithfulness — Today! Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow (Heb 13:8). He is faithful, and always will be. So trust Him Today!


if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end.”

God gives faith. God rewards faith. Hear the promise: “they will see His face” (Rev 22:4). They is not all, but only His servants who live by faith.

A faith that endures is a gracious opportunity to walk with God from beginning to end. Faith is for the in-between — the journey.

Faith that endures thanks God for uncertainties in the way. It is in these uncertain seasons that we get to hold fast to what God has given! We get to trust! We get to believe!

Therefore, people of God — hold on to your original confidence! Walk with God in faithful endurance! He has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’ (Heb 13:5).


“let none of you be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin.”

…For whatever does not proceed from faith is sin. (Rom 14:23).

Is Christ dwelling in your hearts, through faith? (Eph 3:17).

When standing in faith together, we are standing with God.

When moving in faith, we are moving with God.

When enduring in faith, we are enduring with God.

God is present with us, through faith. Amen.

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The Sermon Continues: An Exhortation from Hebrews 3:7-8
The Sermon Continues: An Exhortation from Hebrews 3:7-8

Christopher Campbell • May 18, 2020

Reading from God’s Word

Hebrews 3:7–8 ESV

7 Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says, “Today, if you hear his voice, 8 do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion, on the day of testing in the wilderness,

Exhortation from God’s Word

God has spoken.

Hebrews begins with this truth: “in these last days [God] has spoken to us by his Son” (Heb 1:2).

God is speaking.

Hebrews 3:7 continues: “Therefore, as the Holy Spirit says.”

Church - Listen!

Let us not be satisfied with what was heard yesterday, nor procrastinate for what may be heard tomorrow.

The word of God stands forever (Is 40:8). The word of God stands Today! May we likewise treasure God’s word more than our daily food (Job 23:12).

The phrase “if you hear” does not communicate an invitation to schedule as our calendar permits. Rather, it communicates God’s desire that we hear Him!

Church - Obey!

We have no benefit in hearing only. The phrase “If you hear” might also be understood as “if you obey.” Hearing without obeying makes us more liable to judgment! (see 2 Pet 2:20-21, Matt 7:21-23).

We, as God’s Church, are known as people who obey the voice of God! Obedience demonstrates that we believe God and take His Word seriously.

Let us not selectively hear/obey. Example: We have no reward if we love God and do not love one another.

May we pause now, read Hebrews 3:7-8 again, and ask God to help us hear and obey.

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Easter Exhortation from Luke 24:1-12
Easter Exhortation from Luke 24:1-12

Southside Baptist Church • April 13, 2020

For Southside Baptist Church, Decatur, AL

Easter Sunday | April 12, 2020

Reading from God’s Word

Luke 24:1–12 ESV

1 But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they went to the tomb, taking the spices they had prepared. 2 And they found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they went in they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were perplexed about this, behold, two men stood by them in dazzling apparel. 5 And as they were frightened and bowed their faces to the ground, the men said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead? 6 He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, 7 that the Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men and be crucified and on the third day rise.” 8 And they remembered his words, 9 and returning from the tomb they told all these things to the eleven and to all the rest. 10 Now it was Mary Magdalene and Joanna and Mary the mother of James and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles, 11 but these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. 12 But Peter rose and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; and he went home marveling at what had happened.

Exhortation from God’s Word

Several words describe the reaction of Jesus’ followers at the the empty tomb. They were perplexed (Luke 24:4) meaning they were in doubt or uncertain. They were also frightened (Luke 24:5). 

We can identify with these feelings today. Many things happening in the world offer reasons to be fearful, be it the threat of severe storms, sickness, insecurity, uncertainty, loneliness, or even death. We are easily perplexed and frightened. 

But God’s word calls us to action! Not to be frightened, but to do something else. It is a command found in the word remember (Luke 24:6). 

This Easter we are exhorted (encouraged, comforted, emboldened) as the people of God to remember what God has spoken about who He is, who we are, and who is in control of all things. We are exhorted to remember the words of Christ who said “In the world you have affliction, but have courage! I have conquered the world.” (John 16:33, LEB). 

And Jesus has conquered the world!

Easter is a day of remembering and celebrating the victorious Lord, who won victory over sin, death and the grave, the result of significant sacrifice and high cost.

Easter celebrates the day that sin lost its power. The day death was swallowed up in victory. The day that the grave lost its permanence!

Because Jesus suffered and died, in our place, for our sin — because he was buried, and was raised — this Easter is a day that moves us as a people of faith! 

We live, and move, and have our being because of the Risen Lord (see Acts 17:28, Colossians 1:17). Because Jesus lives, we live, and know the love of God that drives out fear (1 John 4:18). 

The routines and habits of life have changed for us in these recent weeks. Do you think that this is just bad timing at Easter? 

Or is it not God’s timing? A time in which God is speaking to us so that we will focus on His voice and hear

Instead of worshiping in all the comfortable ways we are accustomed to, this Easter we find ourselves uncomfortable, having to consider what it means to worship God when everything that we are used to has been taken away. 

We find ourselves having to remember what is most important about our faith, having little else to turn our eyes upon but Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). 

I do believe that the God of peace is preparing His Church for His imminent return. I believe God is using these last days to move this world into revival. I believe God is moving His Church this Easter, to see Jesus for who He is in a more focused way than ever before!

God is taking away the things that we have held on to, the things we have found comfort in, so that He might teach us to cling to what matters most — Himself!

This is your invitation this Easter. An invitation to embrace the grace of God for this season by letting go of those things that may be hindering us, so that we may run in these last days, unhindered, the race set before us (Hebrews 12:1). This is your invitation, not to hear an idle tale, but to believe and live by faith!  For Jesus is the Risen Lord

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